My top (office) tips for Mark Carney

Making your way in a new workplace is tricky, no matter how important you are


Busy day ahead? Mark Carney has.

Today the new governor of the Bank of England takes up his position and all eyes will be on the Canadian official who, it’s hoped, will save us from financial ruin.

Tough gig. New country, new national bank and new office. Now, I don’t have much (diddly squat) knowledge of central banking and global economics, but I do know what it’s like to walk into a new office. Earlier this year, after spending more than a decade working in one place, I went four days a week and started going into a different office one or two days a fortnight. Armed with an arsenal of new-found knowledge, here are my tips for Mr C on his first day at the Bank of England (which I’m sure the Harvard and Oxford graduate will be agog to hear).

* Ideally you will have done a practise journey to work already. Either way, don’t arrive ridiculously early. It will frighten people. Unless that’s your intention.

* Find out where all the loos are so that a) you don’t have to keep asking and b) you can go and have a little head-clearing hide if you need to.

* Be nice to everyone. Especially important when you don’t know who anyone is.

* And however tempting it is in your first few weeks, don’t bitch about anybody in the company to anyone in the company until you’ve learned where everyone’s allegiances lie.

* Where possible (admittedly tricky in what must be a super high-security establishment), make notes about everything so you don’t look thick.

* Yes, you’ve been brought in for your insight, but no one likes a smart-ass. Don’t start every sentence with “That’s how I did it when I worked at my last place”. And don’t talk too much.

* Get the skinny on the office canteen/cafe/coffee bar. When does the soup run out? Who is the best barista? Does it take cash or do you have to load up a card with credits? All vital intel for smooth snack acquisition.

* Then get the teas in. And maybe some biscuits. Not too often, though, you don’t want people to think you’re a feeder

* Layers. A different office means a different air-conditioning system. If it’s ferocious, you’re going to want a jumper. Feeble? A shirt you’re not afraid to show off.

* Access and assess the stationery cupboard. Highlighter pens maketh the man, despite the digital revolution.

* Learn your new email and phone number off by heart. Don’t get caught out by answering the phone with “Hello Mark Carney, Bank of Canada”. (Even though you’ll probably have minions to do this.)

While all around you watch you like a hawk for signs of weakness and or failure, the most important thing to remember is, it’s just a job. Albeit one where the future of our nation is at stake. Have fun!

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